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Oz picks up Thumbspeed

Mobile email provider Oz said Tuesday that it has acquired Thumbspeed, a developer and publisher of messaging, photo sharing and personalisation applications for mobile phones.

The news may surprise the market but possibly less so the two companies, whose CEOs, Hank Skorny of Thumbspeed and Skuli Mogensen of Oz, have been on good terms for some years.

It also helps that Oz is a small to medium sized company with about 240 employees and Thumbspeed has about 36 employees.

“It’s going to be an easy integration between the two of us,” said Beverly Wilks, director of corporate marketing and communications at Oz.

Then there is Thumbspeed’s research and development facility in India that is now part of the Oz set up and could, at some future stage, be even more significant. Although Wilks said, “We are definitely looking at the India-Asia pacific region but right now we are focusing on the European and North American markets”.

Thumbspeed offers Oz something it needs, or as Wilks puts it, “Working together we’re greater than the sum of our parts… We have IM, email and we’re branching into social networking. They already have a very good integrated messaging client that we are going to be using as well. It gives us more end to end coverage.”

The move is also strategically important in terms of positioning to serve areas that Os is keen to emphasise, such as increasing its mobile IM and email services capabilities. “We’re seeing a huge take rate in IM and email right now in North America and we’re starting to see a lot more in Europe,” said Wilks.

That a company like OZ is keen to enhance its existing offering is hardly a surprise but, she adds: “Social networking is hot. There’s a wider range of people doing social networking. They’re not all in their 20s and 30s; a lot are in their 40s and 50s. Being able to put that on the mobile phone in an easy and concise manner is going to help us reach even more people.”

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